28 Dec 2008
PUCCINI: Gianni Schicchi — La Scala 2008
Gianni Schicchi: Opera in one act (no. 3 of Il trittico)
Hamlet: Opéra in five acts. Music composed by Ambroise Thomas. Libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare.
Advertised in the program as the first opera written in the New World, La Púrpura de la Rosa (PR) was premiered in 1701 in Lima (Peru), but more than the historical feat, true or not, accounts for the piece’s interest.
Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.
Opera in three acts. Words and music by Richard Wagner.
Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel (“stage dedication play”) in three acts.
“German poet, dramatist and novelist. One of the most important literary and cultural figures of his age, he was recognized during his lifetime for his accomplishments of almost universal breadth. However, it is his literary works that have most consistently sustained his reputation, and that also serve to demonstrate most clearly his many-faceted relationship to music. . . .
This theme relates to operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller.
Here are operas based on French literature from Balzac, Hugo and beyond:
Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts
I puritani, opera seria in three acts
Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.
Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts
Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.
La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.
Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.
Oberst Chabert (Colonel Chabert): Tragic opera in 3 acts.
Otello: Dramma lirico in four acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito after The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice by William Shakespeare.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy in five acts with incidental music.
Le Marchand de Venise (“The Merchant of Venice”): Opéra in three acts.
Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.
Gianni Schicchi: Opera in one act (no. 3 of Il trittico)
Music composed by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Giovacchino Forzano after lines 43-45 of Canto XXX of Dante’s Inferno.
First Performance: 14 December 1918, Metropolitan Opera House, New York.
|Gianni Schicchi (aged 50)||Baritone|
|Lauretta, his daughter (aged 21)||Soprano|
|Zita, cousin of Buoso Donati (aged 60)||Contralto|
|Rinuccio, Zita’s nephew (aged 24)||Tenor|
|Gherardo, Buoso’s nephew (aged 40)||Tenor|
|Nella, Gherardo’s wife (aged 34)||Soprano|
|Gherardino, their son (aged 7)||Contralto|
|Betto di Signa, Buoso’s brother-in-law (of uncertain age)||Bass|
|Simone, cousin of Buoso (aged 70)||Bass|
|Marco, Simone’s son (aged 45)||Baritone|
|La Ciesca, Marco’s wife (aged 38)||Mezzo-Soprano|
|Maestro Spinelloccio, a doctor||Bass|
|Ser Amantio di Nicolao, a notary||Baritone|
|Pinellino, a cobbler||Bass|
|Guccio, a dyer||Bass|
Setting: Florence, 1299
Buoso Donati has died in bed. His relatives mourn melodramatically, until they hear the rumor that he has left all his money to the local monastery. They frantically search for the will. Rinuccio finds it, but refuses to release it to his aunt Zita until she agrees to his terms. If the will is favorable to them, she must allow him to marry Schicchi's daughter, Lauretta. Schicchi is looked down on by the Donati family since he is a relatively new arrival in Florence. Zita consents (she does not care whom Rinuccio marries so long as the will leaves them rich), and reads the will, as Rinuccio quietly sends for Schicchi. When the will confirms the rumor, everyone is furious. They refuse to allow Rinuccio to marry, and angrily turn down his suggestion that Schicchi, who is known for his clever schemes, can aid them.
Schicchi and Lauretta arrive to a cold reception. Schicchi, seeing how downcast the relatives are, uncharitably assumes that Donati must be better. He is informed otherwise, and attempts to console the relatives by mentioning their inheritances. Zita, touched to the quick by Schicchi's condolences, angrily explains the situation, and refuses to hear of a marriage. Rinuccio begs Schicchi to help. However, Schicchi, angered by his reception, refuses to help such people. He is persuaded to try by his daughter (O mio babbino caro). Schicchi reads the will, and proclaims that nothing can be done. But then, he has a thought, and Schicchi sends his daughter away so that she may be innocent of the knowledge of what he will suggest. Schicchi first orders the body to be moved to another room, and tells the women to make up the bed. He ensures that no one else knows of the death — but before he can explain, Donati's doctor arrives. The doctor is prevented from entering by the relatives, while Schicchi imitates Donati's voice, telling the doctor that Donati is feeling better. The doctor departs, praising his own skill. Schicchi explains: Schicchi will impersonate Donati and dictate a new will.
Rinuccio goes to get the notary. The relatives agree on the division of the property, except for Donati's mule (the best in Tuscany), mills, and house. They agree to let Schicchi decide who will inherit those items, but, one by one, they return to promise him a reward if he selects that person. Schicchi agrees to each bribe — but then reminds all of the penalty for forgery — loss of a hand and permanent exile from Florence. The notary arrives, with the witnesses. Schicchi dictates a very modest funeral, a minuscule sum to the monastery, and the agreed-upon division, as the relatives speak approvingly. But one by one, Schicchi grants the mule, mills, and house to himself, to the relatives' outrage. After the notary leaves, he throws everyone out, and they are helpless to do anything except grab what they can on the way out the door. Now that Schicchi can give Lauretta a dowry, there is no obstacle to her marriage to Rinuccio. The lovers embrace, as Schicchi watches, moved. Schicchi turns to the audience and asks if this was not a fine use of Donati's money. He then requests the audience's indulgence, even if he did not receive Dante's, pleading extenuating circumstances.
[Synopsis Source: Wikipedia]